Zi Char - Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant 2018

October 19, 2018 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Zi Char - Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant 2018
844 Tampines Street 82 #01-131

446 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 #01-1653

36 Chai Chee Avenue #01-151

505 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 #01-2688


https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jin-Hock-Seafood/322050987861948


Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)



Excellent Heartland Zi Char

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 5
Food & Beverage: 9
Service: 7
Value for Money: 10
Spent about SGD $14 per person.


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Established sometime in 2000 by Chef-Owner Yap Yew Hock, Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant is a popular heartland Chinese Zi Char stall that has since expanded to 4 outlets across Singapore. Hailing from Malacca, Malaysia, and with a long culinary career stretching back to 1974, Chef-Owner Yap Yew Hock serves up delicious Chinese Zi Char dishes at Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant, each crafted to pack a punch, executed with perfect technique, and delicious enough to create anticipation in returning diners.

Ambience at Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant is a coffeeshop atmosphere, which all the outlets are located in. This means simple but functional furniture, bright fluorescent lights, and ample sheltered seating, though the place can get noisy and bustling during peak meal times. As the resident Zi Char stall in the places it's located in, they have some discretion to open and set up additional tables if needed.

Service at Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant, regardless of outlet, has a friendly heartland vibe. The staff converse and take orders in Singlish, offering recommendations if diners seem unsure. Good product knowledge, and I note they clear tables efficiently when diners leave, turning it around quickly for the next guests. They also accord personalised attention, especially for familiar returning diners.

Food at Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant is Chinese Zi Char, with bold takes on traditional flavours. Everything here tastes bold and punchy, in a good way. Dishes are well executed and balanced in flavour, tasting more delicious than elsewhere, making you crave a return visit. Portions are sized for communal group dining. Prices are wallet-friendly and affordable, budget about SGD $14 per person for a good meal here. I find myself thinking about the delicious dishes here, and have since returned multiple times.


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Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant Signage
Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant Signage


Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant Facade
Jin Hock Seafood Restaurant Facade


Meal Flat Lay
Meal Flat Lay



The Cai Poh Tofu Bean Curd (SGD $10 / $15 / $20) is utterly delicious. The soft tofu bean curd, in a silky savoury oyster sauce gravy, with vegetal sweet bok choy / chinese cabbage on the side, is liberally garnished with super crisp cai poh / preserved radish bits that have a savoury salty flavour. Enjoyed the loud and satisfiying crunch of the cai poh / preserved radish, followed by the soft silky texture of the tofu bean curd.

Cai Poh Tofu Bean Curd (SGD $10 / $15 / $20)


Cai Poh Tofu Bean Curd
Cai Poh Tofu Bean Curd



The Snow Bean Curd (SGD $20 / $30) is fairly delicate in taste, and pairs well with the stronger flavoured dishes here. It features their signature soft silky tofu bean curd, coated in a gravy of egg whites, with snappy snow peas, juicy shiitake mushrooms, crunchy broccoli, tender carrots, and bouncy fresh deshelled prawns / shrimp. Has a light vegetal sweet savoury flavour overall. I felt this was among their weaker dishes on the menu, being average in quality.

Snow Bean Curd (SGD $20 / $30)


Snow Bean Curd
Snow Bean Curd



The Crab Meat With Fish Maw Thick Soup (SGD $18 / $24 / $30) is enjoyable, despite its mid-range price. Properly thick, warm, and comforting, the savoury sweet flavours of the seafood and crab stock makes this soup / broth really satisfiying. Garnished with plenty of eggs, deshelled crab meat, and spongy fish maw. I like this with a dash of black vinegar and white pepper.

Crab Meat With Fish Maw Thick Soup (SGD $18 / $24 / $30)


Crab Meat With Fish Maw Thick Soup
Crab Meat With Fish Maw Thick Soup



The Spinach & Squid Soup (SGD $5 / $7 / $10) has a generous garnish of soft wilted spinach leaves, juicy tomatoes, bouncy squid parts, tender minced pork, and wispy egg. While the ingredients are fresh, with natural vegetal meaty sweet savoury eggy flavours, the problem lies in the soup. This thin but clear soup / broth is underwhelming in taste. Seems like they used chicken stock, but didn't infuse the ingredients long enough, resulting in a rather bland taste.

Spinach & Squid Soup (SGD $5 / $7 / $10)


Spinach & Squid Soup
Spinach & Squid Soup



We enjoyed the Deep-Fried Pork With Garlic (SGD $12 / $18 / $24), with its crispy, moist texture to the pork loin, and the good savoury salty flavour enhanced with the herbal spicy notes of garlic. Even the pungent garlic cloves can be eaten, lending a wonderful aroma to the dish.

Deep-Fried Pork With Garlic (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)


Deep-Fried Pork With Garlic
Deep-Fried Pork With Garlic



The Coffee Pork Ribs (SGD $13 / $20 / $26) is Chef's signature dish. Featuring chunks of pork rib with cartilage, coated in a sticky aromatic glaze of coffee and sugar. When stir-fried, this causes the sauce to cling to the meat, lending a depth of smoky sweet savoury toasty flavour to the tender and moist pork ribs, which have a slippery and unctuous texture. Bits of almond garnish lend crunch and a slight nutty flavour. Delicious.

Coffee Pork Ribs (SGD $13 / $20 / $26)


Coffee Pork Ribs
Coffee Pork Ribs



The Fragrant 3-Cup Seasoned Chicken (SGD $12 / $18 / $24) is alright. Warm and comforting, with a rich, thick, nutty savoury salty boozy spicy gravy of sesame oil, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, garlic, ginger, and chili. Garnished with tender chunks of bone-in chicken, with decent savoury sweet chicken meat, and crunchy leeks, that lend a bright vegetal sweet burst of flavour. Decent enough.

Fragrant 3-Cup Seasoned Chicken (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)


Fragrant 3-Cup Seasoned Chicken
Fragrant 3-Cup Seasoned Chicken



Loved the fragrant Prawn Paste Chicken (SGD $10 / $15 / $20), with its light crispy exterior, and juicy succulent interior. The chicken meat is tender with good sweet savoury flavour, and you can taste the savoury salty prawn paste flavour in the batter. Not as strong or as pungent as I'd like though. A decent rendition, but I've had better elsewhere.

Prawn Paste Chicken (SGD $10 / $15 / $20)


Prawn Paste Chicken
Prawn Paste Chicken



The Crispy Bitter Gourd With Salted Egg (SGD $12 / $15 / $20) is completely yummy, so unlike the base vegetable in taste. Totally lacking in the bitter flavour of the vegetable, the bitter gourd is nearly vegetal sweet, coated in a thin and crisp layer of salted egg yolk. Sprinkling of crisp anchovy fish lend crunch. Primary flavour profile is savoury salty, with a hint of spicy from the curry leaves. This will appeal to most.

Crispy Bitter Gourd With Salted Egg (SGD $12 / $15 / $20)


Crispy Bitter Gourd With Salted Egg
Crispy Bitter Gourd With Salted Egg



The Kai-Lan With Mushrooms (SGD $12 / $18 / $24) has fresh, crunchy, vegetal sweet kai-lan / Chinese kale / Chinese broccoli, tender earthy straw mushrooms, and crisp crunchy fried shallots. The contrast of textures make this appealing, while the freshness of the ingredients with simplicity in execution make it delicious.

Kai-Lan With Mushrooms (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)


Kai-Lan With Mushrooms
Kai-Lan With Mushrooms



The Spinach Triple Egg Thick Soup (SGD $12 / $18 / $24) has a richer, thicker texture than other versions elsewhere, and they're slightly more generous with the portion of egg, salted egg, and century egg used. The spinach leaves are nicely soft and tender, and you can drink the gravy as a soup / broth. The eggy vegetal sweet savoury flavours of this dish is hearty and comforting.

Spinach Triple Egg Thick Soup (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)


Spinach Triple Egg Thick Soup
Spinach Triple Egg Thick Soup



Fairly straightforward Sambal Kang Kong (SGD $7 / $10 / $15), with fresh and crunchy kang kong / water spinach leaves. Light vegetal sweet flavour, with a mild spicy layer. Alright, but I've had better versions elsewhere.

Sambal Kang Kong (SGD $7 / $10 / $15)


Sambal Kang Kong
Sambal Kang Kong



The Stir-Fried Nai Bai / Milk Cabbage With Garlic (SGD $8 / $12 / $16) is straightforward, but what makes this dish stand out is the crisp, powerful bits of fried garlic. Lending a pungent, herbal kick to the crunchy, vegetal sweet nai bai / milk cabbage, this is a good choice to accompany a meal.

Stir-Fried Nai Bai / Milk Cabbage With Garlic (SGD $8 / $12 / $16)


Stir-Fried Nai Bai / Milk Cabbage With Garlic
Stir-Fried Nai Bai / Milk Cabbage With Garlic



Pleasantly surprised that the Fried String Beans With Eggplant (SGD $12 / $15 / $20) was better than expected. The fried string beans have a juicy crunch to texture, with delicate vegetal sweet flavour. But the star is the fried eggplant / aubergine / brinjal, which was not mushy, retaining a juicy soft bite to texture. Lovely vegetal earthy sweet salty flavour too. The bits of fresh bouncy deshelled prawns / shrimp was a surprise as well. Highly recommended!

Fried String Beans With Eggplant (SGD $12 / $15 / $20)


Fried String Beans With Eggplant
Fried String Beans With Eggplant



What sorcery is this!? The Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms (SGD $12 / $18 / $24) are an ingenious creation, with thinly sliced abalone mushrooms coated in condensed milk, curry leaves, and other secret ingredients, then stir-fried. It tastes... like Twisties. Like curry flavoured twisties, but better. Slightly crisp in texture, with beautiful notes of savoury spicy salty. My gosh, this is so good. Highly recommended!

Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)


Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms
Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms



The Duo Of Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms, Home Made Prawn & Pork Rolls (SGD $24 / $36) make a good appetizer sampler. The Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms were as good as before. The Home Made Prawn & Pork Rolls are meaty, juicy, and crunchy, with the filling of Chinese 5-spice minced pork, prawns / shrimp, and water chestnut having a savoury salty sweet flavour. Delicious and satisfiying.

Duo Of Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms, Home Made Prawn & Pork Rolls
Duo Of Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms, Home Made Prawn & Pork Rolls (SGD $24 / $36)


Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms


Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms


Home Made Prawn & Pork Rolls
Home Made Prawn & Pork Rolls


Home Made Prawn & Pork Rolls



On another visit, we ordered the Duo Of Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms, Crepe Seafood Duck (SGD $34 / $48) as an appetizer. The Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms were as good as before. The Crepe Seafood Duck is unique, but a rather acquired taste, with a thin egg crepe wrap, stuffed with a sweet savoury seafood paste (fish and prawn / shrimp), paired with a slice of duck meat and duck skin. Has a light crunch, followed by a soft chew. Because of the amount of work it takes to create this, it's also more expensive than other dishes here.

Duo Of Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms, Crepe Seafood Duck
Duo Of Milky Fried Abalone Mushrooms, Crepe Seafood Duck (SGD $34 / $48)


Crepe Seafood Duck


Crepe Seafood Duck
Crepe Seafood Duck



The Fu Rong Egg Omelette (SGD $8 / $10) has a fluffy soft texture, with a delicate eggy sweet savoury flavour. Garnished with small chunks of crab stick meat, shiitake mushrooms, and spring onions, this is a decent accompanying side dish to a meal.

Fu Rong Egg Omelette (SGD $8 / $10)


Fu Rong Egg Omelette
Fu Rong Egg Omelette



The White Pepper Sliced Fish (SGD $12 / $18 / $24) features medium thick slices of fresh snakehead murrel fish, with a bouncy bite to texture, coated in a delicate white pepper gravy. Garnished with crunchy spring onions, this has a lovely savoury peppery spice flavour.

White Pepper Sliced Fish (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)


White Pepper Sliced Fish
White Pepper Sliced Fish



Among their signature dishes here, the Cai Poh Steamed Red Grouper (SGD $Seasonal Price ~$33) features a medium sized, fresh red grouper fish, liberally garnished with super crisp cai poh / preserved radish bits that have a savoury salty flavour. The fish itself has a tender, flaky texture, the sweet savoury fish meat coming easily off the large bones. The salty herbal spicy sauce of light soy sauce, carrots, chili, and parsley, lend good depth of flavour, complementing the freshness of the fish.

Cai Poh Steamed Red Grouper (SGD $Seasonal Price ~$33)


Cai Poh Steamed Red Grouper
Cai Poh Steamed Red Grouper



The Steamed Sea Bass Fish In Hong Kong Superior Soy Sauce (SGD $Seasonal Price ~$31) features a medium sized, fresh sea bass fish, in a thin salty savoury soy sauce and ginger gravy. The fish itself has a tender, flaky texture, the sweet savoury fish meat coming easily off the large bones. Garnished with fresh crisp spring onion shreds. Very appetizing, pairs well with white rice.

Steamed Sea Bass Fish In Hong Kong Superior Soy Sauce (SGD $Seasonal Price ~$31)


Steamed Sea Bass Fish In Hong Kong Superior Soy Sauce
Steamed Sea Bass Fish In Hong Kong Superior Soy Sauce



The Milky Crab (SGD $Seasonal Price ~$48) features a medium sized, fresh Sri Lankan crab, tossed in a rich, creamy, sweet savoury milky gravy. While I love the fresh, clean flavours of the crab, I felt the gravy could be better if it was slightly thicker in texture. Pretty decent, not outstanding, but still tasty. Slightly more expensive than elsewhere, as I got a 700g crab for this price. Ordered the Fried Mantou Buns (SGD $3.80) on the side, these were a little less crisp for my liking, being more soft in texture.

Milky Crab (SGD $Seasonal Price ~$48)


Milky Crab


Milky Crab
Milky Crab


Fried Mantou Buns (SGD $3.80)


Fried Mantou Buns
Fried Mantou Buns



The White Bee Hoon (SGD $5 / $9 / $12 / $16) is a signature dish here, with thin rice vermicelli in a thick seafood gravy, garnished with sliced pork loin, chye sim / choy sum / Chinese flowering cabbage, prawns / shrimp, egg, and pork lard. Beautifully savoury sweet in flavour, with the delicate sweetness of seafood. Nice and easy to slurp up, pairs well with the fried dishes here.

White Bee Hoon (SGD $5 / $9 / $12 / $16)


White Bee Hoon
White Bee Hoon


White Bee Hoon



The Chinese Hokkien style Pig Trotter Bee Hoon (SGD $12 / $18 / $24) here differs due to the generous gravy, as most other versions are usually dry. The thin rice vermicelli noodles pick up the salty savoury gravy so well. Garnished with tender slippery chunks of pig's trotters, with a good amount of collagen, crunchy chye sim / choy sum / Chinese flowering cabbage, and tender chestnuts. The use of chestnuts really makes this stand out, lending a nutty flavour that complements the bold meaty taste of the dish. Good!

Pig Trotter Bee Hoon (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)


Pig Trotter Bee Hoon
Pig Trotter Bee Hoon



Impressed with the amount of ingredients in the Stir-Fried Mee Sua (SGD $7 / $12 / $16). Despite the simple name, this plate of rice vermicelli noodles is stir-fried with eggs, dark soy sauce, spanish mackerel fish slices, pork loin slices, fresh prawns / shrimp, bean sprouts, and garnished with lettuce and a wedge of lime. The contrasting crunch of lettuce against the tender ingredients, the bold savoury sweet salty flavours, and the smoky aroma of wok hei / breath of the wok, combine to make this delicious.

Stir-Fried Mee Sua (SGD $7 / $12 / $16)


Stir-Fried Mee Sua
Stir-Fried Mee Sua



The Pandan Agar-Agar With Nata De Coco (SGD $Complimentary) is wobbly with a firm gelatinous texture. Lightly fragrant with the aroma of pandan / screwpine leaf, the primary floral sweet flavour is contributed by the diced nata de coco / coconut jelly cubes.

Pandan Agar-Agar With Nata De Coco
Pandan Agar-Agar With Nata De Coco (SGD $Complimentary)



The Fruit Cocktail Jelly (SGD $Complimentary) is wobbly with a firm gelatinous texture. It's lightly fragrant with a fruity aroma and fruity sweet flavours, from the generous portion of canned fruit within.

Fruit Cocktail Jelly
Fruit Cocktail Jelly (SGD $Complimentary)



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